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brainHat: Raspberry Pi + OpenBCI = Plug and Play LSL

I purchased the OpenBCI Cyton board with the whimsical goal of building a wearable and portable BCI device to drive a Lego robot with the power of my mind. I am still very far from driving the robot, but I have solved my first big problem of how to get the data from the OpenBCI board to one or more computers processing it in a mobile setup.

To solve this problem I developed the brainHat system to enable easy plug and play Lab Streaming Layer (LSL) format broadcast of the sample data from your OpenBCI Cyton or Cyton+Daisy board.

There is a more detailed, albeit a work in progress, document describing the system here:

There is also a quick video describing what the system can do here:

To create a lab network with one or more brainHat servers:

  1. Build the brainHat server program on the Raspberry Pi.
  2. Plug your OpenBCI USB dongle into the Raspberry Pi (no need to ever touch the dongle again).
  3. Run the brainHat server program.
  4. Power on your OpenBCI board.
  5. Open up any program capable of receiving LSL, and start working with the complete sample data using your favourite processing tools.
  6. Turn off your OpenBCI board when you are done. The brainHat server program will quietly spin in the background waiting for the board to power on again and LSL data broadcast will resume.

We tested the server program receiving data with the LabRecorder, and Brainvision LSL client programs.

You may also use the brainHat client application we wrote for Windows or Raspberry pi as a simple GUI to look at the raw data, and to record files in OpenBCI_GUI .txt format.

We are working on the brainHat mobile application to view graphs of Exg raw data, filtered data, and processed band power, as well as to control recording a file in OpenBCI_GUI .txt format on the Raspberry Pi disk.

More details are available in the brainHat Software System Description.

There is still quite a bit of work to be done before this app is ready for an app store. However, if you are interested to put the power of the brainflow libraries in the palm of your hand, please reach out and let us know and maybe we can get a beta tester program going.

Thanks for reading.



Hey how’s it going? The mobile bci seems pretty cool, does it need power? Didn’t see anything on there the indicated it did other then use of the word daisy chain. Thanks – will

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